Yomumul, a Creator
with Anita Endrezze
The Return Home
Seed of Life
Long ago there was a beautiful spirit woman. Her name was Yomumul. She was beautiful because she was full of spirit. She was a creator. She created the mountains. She created the land. She created all the animals that were on the land.
Arlie Neskahi :
Anita Endrezze is a Yaqui artist and storyteller. Today she tells of Yomumul, from the Yaqui creation story.
She also created the people. She made these little people and put them into a village by the ocean, close to hunting, close to fishing. And she thought the people would be happy there.
But she also made something that was a bit of a mystery it was a very, very tall tree. The tree was so high that you had to look up, up and crane your neck. And you couldn’t even see the top of it. But that wasn’t the most unusual thing about it. The most mysterious thing was that it was a talking tree, a singing tree, a humming tree. The people would listen and listen all day and all night trying to figure out what the tree was telling them. Because Yomumul wasn’t there any longer. She had left. She had to create in other parts of the world.
The people wondered. They sent the youngest person, the little baby, but the baby couldn’t tell them what the tree was saying. They sent the oldest, the oldest woman, the oldest man, but they couldn’t figure out what the tree was telling the people either. They sent the hunter. They sent the singer. They sent the shaman, the medicine man and woman. They sent every person they could think of in the whole village. But no one could figure out what that tree was telling them.
They accused each other of not being good enough to be able to receive the holy message. They began to have a lot of arguments. There was dissension in the village. And they began to get angry at their creator, at Yomumul. They couldn’t figure out why she had given this to them when they didn’t have any idea what it was supposed to mean. She heard them talking and arguing and yelling at each other and she came back from her creating in the mountains. And she said “My children. What is happening?
They told her. She said, “You shouldn’t be arguing. This is a wonderful mystery. It is meant for you to make you think and wonder because people must always wonder at the great mysteries of life. But let me help you. All of you, please, sit around in a circle”. And then she called all the animals while the people were sitting. The animals filed in and they made the outer circle. And she said, “I would like to tell everyone here, both the people, the humans, and also all the other creatures in creation. I would like to tell you what the talking tree is telling you.”
But, she said, “I have to warn you. That there will be some things that are terrible. You won’t want to believe them, but I am telling you the truth. I am telling you what the tree is saying.” Well everybody was listening. They all assured her that they would believe her and trust in her.
First, they started telling what the animals should know. Of course, all the animals listened very carefully and gratefully. They already knew some of that because it was part of their nature. She told them that the deer would be eaten by the cougar. And that the deer would also be eaten by people, but the deers would eat the plants. Everything was told. The rabbits would be eaten by the coyotes. The coyotes might be hunted and killed by the cougar. Everything seemed part of nature. And as soon as she had told this to all the animals, they ran away, or walked or flew or crawled and went back to their own places. Finally it was just the people.
“Well, my children, things will be hard for you. Of course you know that you shouldn’t harm each another either by words or by thoughts or actions, but it is something that you are going to have to learn a little deeper, because I haven’t been happy with the way you have treated each other.”
“Many, many generations from now,” she said, “there will come some strange people to your land. They will take away your children. They will teach you a new language. They will give you new ways of thinking and believing. It will be all different. There will be terrible sicknesses. There will be a huge iron snake with fire and smoke that comes out of the top of its head and it will go across the country roaring. It will be a sad time for you. You will lose much.”
After this announcement, the people were shocked. They were frightened. And because they were frightened, they became angry. “Oh, she is not really telling us the truth,” some of them said. “She is just trying to frighten us so that she can control us.” Yomumul heard this and she told the people that she was leaving. She said,
“My children, I am the creator.
“I am your mother, but I don’t control you. And I am going to leave you. I am going to continue creating. You must make your own decisions. And whatever decisions that you make, think about your children and how they would fare under those decisions.” So she took her favorite river and she rolled it up and put it under her arm and walked away on a rainbow.
The Return Home
Seed of Life
Back in the village, the people looked at each other panicking. Yomumul had left them. They had decisions to make. How far away was this future? Some of the people were so frightened; they began to make preparations to leave. “We’re leaving. We’re not staying here. We’re going to the ocean.” some of them said. And as they walked into the waves they began to change the way they looked and they became all the mammals of the ocean. They became all the dolphins and the porpoises. And they say to this very day, that if you are lost at sea, they will help you back to shore because they remember the time when we were all one people.
Some of the other people went into the desert trying to flee their destiny. And as they walked into the desert they became the tiny, tiny, tiny little people who live under the earth. The ant people. And they say too if you are lost and they will help you back to the village because they remember the time when we were one people.
There were still quite a few people that stayed in the village. They decided they would face the future with courage and knowledge. And that’s what they would teach their children. And those people are my ancestors, the Yaqui.
When it Comes
Anita Endrezze is married, has two children, and has lived in Everett, Washington for the past 37 years.
If you’d like to learn more about any of the stories or music you hear on our program, visit us on the web at www.wisdomoftheelders.org.
Learn more about Anita Endrezze and her books in the Internet Public Library’s Native American Authors Project.